Despite the ongoing political turmoil, Singapore has continued to host many events and celebrate its diversity. This includes a new award for those who are committed to tackling climate change. The Earthshot Prize will recognise entrepreneurs, innovators and community leaders who are committed to restoring the planet. It is backed by philanthropists, the investment company Temasek, decarbonisation investment platform GenZero and non-profit environmental organisation Conservation International.
The inaugural award ceremony for the singapore prize was held this week. It recognised 12 winners from across the island state’s four official languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Eight of the winners are first-time recipients, and include writers from both seasoned and emerging literary circles. The winner of the Readers’ Favourite award, a popular vote spanning over 4,000 entries, went to the Tamil novelist rma cureess (Rama Suresh).
Other winners included the entrepreneur behind graph data software Neo4j, which won in the Most Innovative Graph Data Platform 2022 category. The judges for this category came from around the world, including representatives from Google, Microsoft and IBM.
In addition to the top awards, other prizes were given out at the event. These included the inaugural Dreams Asia Breakthrough prize, which was awarded to a team that was able to create innovative solutions to address poverty in Singapore. The judges for this category were a mix of philanthropists, academicians and social entrepreneurs.
Also at the awards ceremony was a panel discussion about Singapore’s literary landscape, featuring a host of prominent personalities and industry insiders. It was moderated by the director of National Arts Council’s Literature Bureau, Darren Chua. The panellists discussed the current state of literature in Singapore, as well as what challenges the publishing industry faces and how these can be overcome.
There were several other highlights from the event, including a performance by Malaysian rap artist shazlin. He performed several hits, as well as a song dedicated to his father who died last year.
The event was not without its controversy, however. A day after the awards ceremony, poet Grace Chia, whose poetry collection Cordelia was shortlisted but did not win in the English Poetry category, delivered a speech at the Singapore Writers Festival accusing the prize of sexism. She said: “The fact that two male narratives of poetic discourse have been deemed more worthy than one woman’s reeks of engendered privilege that continues to plague this country’s literary landscape.” She later removed the speech from Facebook.